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Connecticut Democrat Murphy beats McMahon for Senate

(Reuters) - Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon lost her second U.S. Senate bid in two years with Connecticut voters choosing Democrat U.S. Representative Chris Murphy to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Joseph Lieberman.

In a statement to supporters, McMahon, the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment who poured nearly $100 million of her own money into the two campaigns, congratulated Murphy and conceded defeat.

Murphy had 53 percent of the vote compared to McMahon's 46 percent, according to the Hartford Courant newspaper,

McMahon was widely credited for running a better campaign compared to her effort two years ago, when she lost to then-state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. But it remained an uphill battle for a Republican to win in a state where Democrats have a 16-point voter registration advantage over Republicans.

In a series of debates, Murphy worked to undercut McMahon's appeal among women while painting her as too conservative for Connecticut's largely Democratic electorate and out of touch with middle-class voters.

"Over the past two years, we built the largest grassroots network of support Connecticut has ever seen in a statewide campaign," Murphy said in a message to supporters. "I could not be more thankful for your support throughout this campaign."

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Gevirtz)